I know that’s quite a sweeping statement and perhaps not 100% true but I generally believe you won’t get sales on Facebook sales if you’re a small business. It is a good option for brand recognition (which admittedly can lead to sales) but the emphasis and time so
many small businesses put into Facebook I don’t believe is justified.
I totally understand why small businesses grasp on to Facebook and I absolutely believe that retail businesses need to have a presence on Facebook. Building a strong network of ‘friends’ for a business though is very tough, near on impossible, and the time, money & energy I see businesses putting into Facebook makes me worry.
There are a number of reasons I say this. Highest on the list is that small businesses just don’t have enough money to make Facebook advertising work for them. Facebook advertising is pretty much a rip-off. You get a glimmer of hope when you do your first small campaign gaining a nice growth in numbers. So then you figure why not keep doing this on a consistent basis and steadily grow your numbers. Two or three months down the lines and you’ve spent hundreds of pounds and notice your ‘friends’ list is made up of people who just have no connection with your target market if they even happen to be in your own country.
Facebook also doesn’t serve the service or professional arenas well. I may want to find a lawyer for whatever reason and may check out someone’s Facebook profile if their website leads me to it but I would not be searching Facebook to find that lawyer. And I am certainly not going to become a ‘friend’ of a service or professional on Facebook unless they are a personal friend or acquaintance of mine. Frankly, in many cases, I don’t want my network of friends knowing my business including why I might need a lawyer, therapist or plumber.
This all sounds a bit rich coming from someone who is a huge fan and makes a living from social media. The reality is though you need to pick your social media channels with care and based on best return for your time and money. I like Facebook a lot, especially on a personal level, and I also very much believe it is a good starting block for a small business but rely on it at your peril if you think it will bring you a big return on your investment if you’re a small business.